Awareness — Wake Up and Smell the Goldfish!


Awareness is the beginning of change. Case in point: I never realized how much I was eating between meals until I decided to quit snacking. It turns out that I had been consuming a steady stream of totally unworthy calories: a handful of dry cereal, cashews, crusts off my kids’ sandwiches, old Halloween candy, cold pancakes — you name it. I had known that I was snacking more than I should, but I had wildly underestimated the magnitude of my noshing until I swore off snacks for two weeks. Time after time I stopped myself on the verge of popping some little tidbit into my mouth.

But when I caught myself, like Pavlov‘s pooches, salivating as I reached into the cupboard to grab the cheddar cheese goldfish (which I don’t even really like that much) as I packed my kids’ lunches, I knew I had a problem. A habit so powerful that I was actually drooling over goldfish. Goldfish! I had been unconsciously eating. A lot. And once I became aware of it, I could choose to stop. And I did.

So my two weeks is up, but I have not reverted to my old ways. Now I am practicing “mindful eating” and it feels good. I am back in a position of conscious choice. Mostly, I abstain, and when I indulge, it is a mindful indulgence. I feel more in control, more in balance — and I am losing the few pounds I had put on over the last year.

Do you suspect you may have such a habit, whether it is eating, drinking, checking your email, or watching tv? Try cutting it out for two weeks and notice how many times a day you have the impulse. You may find that simple awareness and conscious choice is all it takes to change a bad habit and make you appreciate the object of that habit in a new way.